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Report on an unannounced inspection of Otago Corrections Facility under the Crimes of Torture Act 1989

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Executive summary

The following report has been prepared in my capacity as a National Preventive Mechanism, as designated under Part 2 of the Crimes of Torture Act 1989 (COTA). The purpose of Part 2 of the COTA is to enable Aotearoa New Zealand to meet its international obligations under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT).

My functions under the COTA include examining the treatment of people in a number of places of detention, including prisons, and the conditions of their detention. I make recommendations that I consider appropriate to improve the conditions of detention and treatment of prisoners, including recommendations to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

This report examines the conditions and treatment of prisoners detained in Otago Corrections Facility (the Prison). I authorised my Inspectors to conduct a seven-day inspection of the Prison from 5 October to 11 October 2020. Inspectors used defined criteria to assess the treatment and living conditions of prisoners.

The Prison is located near Milton, in South Otago, and has capacity for 454 prisoners with security classifications ranging from minimum to high. 

My report highlights some matters of significant concern that require urgent attention. I look forward to seeing the results of that attention on the next inspection.

I wish to acknowledge and express my appreciation to the managers and staff of the Prison for the cooperation they extended to my Inspectors. My thanks to the prisoners for their participation and assistance. I welcome Corrections’ response to my findings and recommendations.

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